I’m tingling at the thought of being able to watch a century of futility whenever I please on the satellite dish. This is the possibility brought to us today by the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, whose corporate owners are spinning the possibility of a 24/7 TV network dedicated to the North Siders to potential buyers.
(Offseason programming: “The 100-Year-Old Virgin”)
Tribune is trying to ditch the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and its 25% stake in Comcast SportsNet. The possibility of the Cubs developing their own network a la YES, SNY, or NESN is a ways off (2019 at the earliest). Plus, there’s still a bit of a stumbling block even when 2019 rolls around.
About 70 of the 162 Cubs games are also shown on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Ch. 9. It’s unclear whether Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune, would obligate the new team owner to continue broadcasting games on the local station, which has a 60-year history with the Cubs.
A Cubs-only cable channel also would lack the winter programming now provided by the Bulls and Blackhawks. And if Comcast is not a partner in a future network, a new owner would have to negotiate distribution rights.
Considering the state of both the Bulls and Blackhawks at this time, that’s less of a concern unless each organization can resuscitate itself from what they have become in the past few years.
I’d sign up to try and get this on a dish if only any owner willing to try this would do old classic Harry Caray broadcasts, in order to hear his creative pronunciations of certain last names — or, more likely, a loop of Steve Bartman making that infamous catch a few years back.
Hey, it’ll have an easier time getting off the ground than the Big Ten Network.
Plus, there’s precedence for this kind of TV programming. Just look at the impressive cable ratings of “The 40-year Virgin.”